Staying away from altitude sickness

Nepal is famous for trekking with wide range of trekking options but trekking ill-prepared may lead to unexpected disaster. Trekking give great deal of experience to anyone, it’s not easy but somehow gives you lasting memory. While trekking to high mountain you should also prepare for the worst and well be prepared for any kind of challenges. One of the problems you may face is altitude sickness and it normally occurs in an altitude of 3000 m (10000 ft) above. So while trekking to high mountain you should go slow, take enough time to rest, take frequent breaks and have adequate rest days. This is the only way you allow your body the amount of time it requires to be familiar with the sudden change in the atmosphere.

Most common Symptoms

Based on reports obtained so far from research and survey conducted on cases of altitude sickness, here are few that could clearly be said are the most common symptoms.

1. Headache: Every time you have a headache does not necessarily mean you have altitude sickness. Take a break. If your headache is anything other than symptoms of altitude sickness, it should go off after a rest of about two hours. If you still have it even after a complete rest, it definitely is a symptom. Do not go higher.

2. Tiredness: The word tiredness is enough to make you laugh and say it is not unusual for one to feel tired after a day long walk especially when you walk uphill. That maybe so but the question is how long will it take you to recover. After a rest of two hours, you should regain your energy and climb further. Avoid going higher if you do not recover even after a complete rest.

3. Pulse: Check your pulse. It is 60 beats a minute in an average normal condition. If it remains at around 100, consider it a symptom. It is quite normal for it to go high when you walk uphill or faster than normal. Don’t panic, a 30 minute break should bring it down to the average beat.

4. Coughing: Because of dry and cold temperature at higher altitude, it is not unusual for one to cough. Take a break and check the improvement after the rest.

5. Labor Breathing: Everyone will have labor breathing walking uphill. Take a break. If you still have it even after rest, it positively is a symptom. Do not go higher.

6. Loss of Appetite: The more you eat the better it is for you since your body requires a lot of energy to continue functioning properly and to remain balanced. But if you lose your appetite and begin to throw up at the same time, it is quite dangerous.

7. Unbalanced Steps: If you walk as if you are drunk, it is probably the most dangerous symptom of altitude sickness. It is normal for one to lose balance after a long and hard walk. Take a 30 minute break and then walk on a straight line about 15 steps in such a way that your toe touches the heel. You certainly have a serious problem if you fail to do it properly after rest.

Prevention

In order to reduce the risk of altitude sickness, the following precautionary measures are suggested:
• Diamox 250 mg: This medicine will help you to stay from altitude illness. Consult with your doctor for recommended dose.

• Do not go too fast, too high when you are at an altitude of 3000m or above. Take it easy and go slow.

• Limited gain in altitude: Make sure your total gain in altitude in between the place you wake up and the one you sleep at the end of the day should be not more than 300m or 1000ft.

• Acclimatize: Spend two nights resting after a gain of every, 1000m (approx 3000ft) each.

• Drink a lot. Considering the dry climate at high altitude, drinking four liter of liquid regularly each day helps to reduce the risk.

• No alcohol. Since they only help to hide the symptoms, avoid taking alcohol and sleeping pills.

• Carry only a light backpack. Those carrying heavy backpack are seen running into trouble often. Minimize the weight of your backpack down to 8 kg.

• Do not listen to others. Altitude sickness is unpredictable. Your age or the shape and size of your body have absolutely no role to play. One of the two or more trekkers in a group may develop the symptom at any time but others may not. Do not let others pressure you. If you think you have the symptom, do not go higher.

What do you need while trekking?

Trekking requires a lot of equipment, but your backpack should only weigh 25% of your weight. So think, what do you want to take with you and what not too? Here is a short list of stuff that might be useful: backpack, rain coat, torch, rope, snack, water bottle, pocket knife, boots, whistle, first aid.

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